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Stage 16 - Wednesday, July 19: Le Bourg-d'Oisans - La Toussuire, 182 km

Stage 16 could be the key to the 2006 Tour. The crucial linchpin stage begins by immediately ascending the immense Galibier, then descends over 60km to attack the Beyond Category Col de la Croix-de-Fer, then the transition climb of Col du Mollard, and then down to St.Jean-de-Maurienne to the final ascent of the new climb up to the ski station of La Toussuire. It's not a steep grade at 6% but it is 18.4km long, which could lead to big gaps at the finish. It will be time for riders like Valverde to make up some time before the final TT.

Mountains

Images ©:AFP

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